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HummingbirdJames

The Writing Thread

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I suppose I should own up.

 

My name is James, and I'm a writer.

 

I've been at it for as long as I can remember, really. From primary school, I was known for my imagination and creativity. I would dream up entire stories, and forget them by the time I got home.

 

Fortunately, with the medium of the Internet, I can get it down wherever. I can even do it on my phone now! This thread is basically for me, and those of a similar persuasion, to dump their ideas, show off what they've written and criticise each others work.

 

First things first, these are the stories I've put on my blog for public consumption:

The first part of The Precipice of the Bright, my semi-in progress novel.

Waiting, a piece I quickly whipped up for my Creative Writing class at college.

Victor the Zebra Doctor, a short that I wrote today. It's not as good as the other two, mainly because I brainfarted.

 

So, what have you, the public of Nom, written?

Edited by HummingbirdJames

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I tried this a while ago. It sort of failed though.

 

Well, that means I'm just gonna have to make it work better! I shall do this through INJECTING CONTENT! Such as this story about Walter, the Paediatrician with an Ice Cream Van that I wrote today! Also, I'd like some criticism.

 

Oh and FlyingHat? That's a pretty good haiku. Just saying.

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I can never write anything without it coming out bland as hell.

 

I try writing for some comic ideas I have. usually ends up with me scrapping it though.

 

Stop being so negative, guys D:

 

 

I wrote this pretty-obvious L4D fanfiction the other day. I haven't finished it yet, and I probably won't.

 

Musicians with a Fire Engine

The fire engine blazed past the stadium, making a huge ruckus. Me and the band bought this pile o’ junk at a scrapyard a couple years back for about £200. It’s certainly been worth the investment, despite how it’s been falling apart for about a year and a half. It’s saved our bacon loads of times. Times like that one gig in Millwall. That was hairy, let me tell ya.

 

Anyways, me, Keith, Ellis and Frank were cruising down Main Street in Ol’ Red, without a care in the world. Keith piped up, mentioning how he could see the back end on fire. That reminds about that one time when Keith decided to put firecrackers in his burrito, make it real hot. He ended up with third-degree burns over ninety percent of his body. Anyways, we looked out the windows and sure enough, it was on fire. Some punk must’ve dropped a Molotov on us at some point.

 

We pulled up outside a used car dealer, and got out. Me and Ellis pulled off our hats and held them to our chest. Ol’ Red wasn’t going much farther. Then Keith and Frank pulled the fire buckets out of the cab and chucked ‘em over the back, putting it right out. Me and Ellis sure looked like right idiots. Ol’ Red was gonna be truckin’ for a while longer. We hauled ass back inside when we saw the mob just ahead.

 

They was all just standin’ there, milling around like a bunch of zombies. Turns out, they were. They noticed us in the engine and thought, “Hey, here looks to be a good meal! They got a fire engine, they gotta have good brains!” They didn’t know about Frank failing his English five times in a row, just ‘cause he didn’t know the difference between a capital letter and a full stop.

 

We was prepared, though. We had a couple of auto-shotguns, an SMG and a briefcase full’a pistols and money. We pulled those suckers out and shot them till they looked like Swiss cheese that had been shot a whole load of times. We got back in Ol’ Red and started gettin’ ready to go when we heard the biggest, meanest roar you ever heard. We figured it must’a been a bear. Then we realised that bears don’t live in the city.

 

A great huge slab o’ concrete slammed into the ground in front of us.

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DOUBLE POST, ALL THE WAY!

 

Because I had a BURNING DESIRE to post my new STORIES today. Both of them are just 250 words long, and I got the ideas from prompting people with random things.

The Tulip came from using a random story generator on the interwebs to obtain three objects: a tulip, a garden path and a silver spoon. I got lazy with the latter two.

The Disturbance in the Forest came from asking a friend for two objects and an animal. The two objects were a toothbrush and a wheel, and the animal was a gorilla. I don't think I implemented the wheel too well.

 

What do you guys think?

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Do blogs count? This is a permanent evaluation task for uni, but I'm having fun with it nonetheless.

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I wrote a paper. About games. And alien side boobs. You guys get to ridicule it before my professor has a change to see it, what an honour.

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Bumping this thread because I have a huge problem with this story I'm writing. Here, have it in a quote:

 

Darkness engulfed me. I pushed off from the cold metal. My heavy suit suddenly felt like it was nothing as I moved away from the airlock. I grabbed one of the rails nearby and swung myself to it so that I didn't float off into space. I looked above me. I dipped down, pulled myself up on the rail and shot myself to the top of the ship, catching hold of another rail on the way. I could have just taken the ladder, but that gets boring after the fifth spacewalk.

 

I lifted myself over the rail and planted my boots firmly on the hull plating, then raised my arm in front of me to flip a switch on the wrist panel. The electromagnets on my feet hummed to life. I walked across the hull plating, step by magnetised step. Sweat formed on my brow. Losing heat is a bitch in space. I detached the automatic screwdriver from my belt as I reachedmy destination.

 

Simple maintenance. The chief engineer wouldn't normally have a job this menial. But I do it every month.

 

I surveyed the grey box in front of me. Sometimes, ship builders had no sense of aesthetics. They go and make the hull svelte and curved, then stick a square lump on the top. It wasn't very large, but it was noticeable. I loosened the top of it. Despite it being routine, this was a very important task. If the sensor array's mechanism was out of alignment by even one femtometre,or the primary X-ray antenna pointing in a third of a minute in the wrong direction, the ship could collide with an asteroid and no one would notice until we were all space dust. The screwdriver buzzed as I took out the last screw.

 

I pulled off the cover, and placed it on the hull next to me. I put the screws back in their holes, so that I couldn't lose them. I peered inside. It appeared to be in working order. I took out the alignment caliper, and tapped the side of my helmet to activate the communicator.

 

“Engineering, this is Lieutenant Dell. I'm about to begin sensor maintenance, please shut down the array. Send a system-wide alert about the temporary downtime.” My voice was a little scratchy. I hadn't drunk my morning coffee yet. “Roger, Lieutenant. Array going down in five.” was the reply. Sure enough, in five seconds the faint glow from the power conduits faded into nothingness. “Array is down, you can proceed with maintenance.”

 

I reached into the mechanism. The familiar blue laser emitted from the ends of the caliper as I flipped the on switch. As I measured the distance between the various gears, my mind wandered. A man could lose himself out here, in the dark.Silence reigned. Beautiful, unbroken silence. Sometimes, when my workload was light and I needed to escape everyday life, I come outhere with a book and a chair, and sat on the hull reading, using the helmet speakers to play soft jazz. One time, I even brought a Portable Environs-Dome out so I could drink a glass of wine and sit in my smoking jacket.

 

A wire sparked out at me. More work to do. Absolutely fantastic. I smiled. I withdrew my arm, and read the display on the caliper. The mechanism was aligned correctly. I placed it back on my belt, and drew a length of wire out of a pouch next to it. I unplugged the faulty one, and inserted the new one in its place. I marked the bad wire with a small cutting laser, and placedit in the pouch. I mentioned that the wiring up here was starting to decay at the last department meeting. It seems no one bothered to come out and try and fix it. Typical. If you want something done, do it yourself.

 

I honestly think I could get by with a much smaller department. I could take on quite a few of the responsibilities myself; I don't mind working, especially if it means I get to get away from the rest of the crew like this. In fact, I'd probably take on most of the spacewalks. They're just that much nicer than most other jobs I had on this ship. If I were anywhere else on the ship, I'd get approached with a proposal for making the engines slightly more efficient, or maybe a detailed breakdown of the energy savings of shutting the artificial gravity off for ten minutes every night. Don't get me wrong, I love those things. I'm just not that fond of people, I guess.

 

I detached the antenna calibrator from my toolbelt, and held it to the sensor grid on the side of the array unit. The usual blue field emitted from the end, collecting data from the placement of each antenna. Honestly, my life would be so much better if I didn't have as many people to talk to. I'd get things done sooner that way. People just get in between me and my work.

I have no idea as to what I should do after this point in the story. Anything I write just seems to fit terribly, and I end up dumping it. Any suggestions? C&C of the existing portion is cool too.

 

A couple of major points:

  • This is a character piece. I don't want to include anyone else in this, and I want to keep the engineer in space, even though at this point he's almost done with his work. I could add in a flashback, or have someone talk to him over his communicator, but other than that, no other characters.
  • No action like "OH HEY SOMEONE ELSE OUT HERE ON THE HULL I BETTER GO FIND HIM". I just want this to be about the engineer performing a routine maintenance and thinking to himself.
  • I have to express how much he doesn't like people without going HEY I DON'T LIKE PEOPLE. This is pretty much the thing I'm stuck on. I'm not that good at expressing emotion and how people think in writing.
I'll let you get on with the vicious destruction of my work now.

 

Also, FYI: any formatting problems are probably because of the forum dicking it up. I'm generally pretty good about formatting.

Edited by HummingbirdJames

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I found this website called Six Minute Story. Basically, the premise is that you are (voluntarily) forced to write a story within six minutes. You are supposed to write it based upon a prompt given to you by the website, such as a sample first line or a single word or even a picture. The prompt changes every day, although you can take on past prompts. On Fridays, the prompt changes to "whatever the hell you want". I decided to give it a shot today, and I came up with this. Please tell me what you think of it!

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occasionally i write out conversations between my friends and i

here we were discussing planets aligning

 

"Hey Saturn, you feel like fucking someone over?" Asked Jupiter of his neighbouring planet Saturn.

"Let's line up and start some shit."

"Guys," piped Mars, the small red planet with an uncharacteristically big heart, "Maybe we shouldn't do this..."

Jupiter scoffed at Mars' attempt to reason with his tyranny. "Fuck you Mars, I'm Jupiter, I'll do what I want."

 

 

 

 

 

 

(I also kind of wish i had some of my stories saved. I'm not a very strong writer but i enjoy it, unfortunately i dont go to as much effort backing up my writing as i do my pictures. Fun fact, however: I'm a published poet)

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Bumping this thread because I could do with a little help.

 

Don't you hate it when you're working on something, then leave it for a couple months, then come back to find that it turned to crap and you can't continue with it?

 

I already posted the first part of this earlier in the thread. It's not that much more, to be honest.

 

Darkness engulfed me. I pushed off from the cold metal. My heavy suit suddenly felt like it was nothing as I moved away from the airlock. I grabbed one of the rails nearby and swung myself to it so that I didn't float off into space. I looked above me. I dipped down, pulled myself up on the rail and shot myself to the top of the ship, catching hold of another rail on the way.

 

I could have just taken the ladder, but that gets boring after the fifth spacewalk.

 

I lifted myself over the rail and planted my boots firmly on the hull plating, then raised my arm in front of me to flip a switch on the wrist panel. The electromagnets on my feet hummed to life. I walked across the hull plating, step by magnetised step. Sweat formed on my brow. Losing heat is a bitch in space. I detached the automatic screwdriver from my belt as I reached my destination.

 

Simple maintenance. The chief engineer wouldn't normally have a job this menial. But I do it every month.

 

I surveyed the grey box in front of me. Sometimes, ship builders had no sense of aesthetics. They go and make the hull svelte and curved, then stick a square lump on the top. It wasn't very large, but it was noticeable. I loosened the top of it. Despite it being routine, this was a very important task. If the main sensor array's mechanism was out of alignment by even one femtometre, or if the primary X-ray antenna was pointing in a third of a minute in the wrong direction, the ship could collide with an asteroid and no one would notice until we were all space dust. The screwdriver buzzed as I took out the last screw.

 

I pulled off the cover, and placed it on the hull next to me. I put the screws back in their holes, so that I couldn't lose them. I peered inside. It appeared to be in working order. I took out the alignment caliper, and tapped the side of my helmet to activate the communicator.

 

“Engineering, this is Lieutenant Dell. I'm about to begin sensor maintenance, please shut down the array. Send a system-wide alert about the temporary downtime.” My voice was a little scratchy. I hadn't drunk my evening coffee yet.

“Roger, Lieutenant. Array going down in five.” was the reply. Sure enough, in five seconds the faint glow from the power conduits faded into nothingness. “Array is down, you can proceed with maintenance.”

 

I reached into the mechanism. The familiar blue laser emitted from the ends of the caliper as I flipped the on switch. As I measured the distance between the various gears, my mind wandered. A man could lose himself out here, in the dark. Silence reigned. Beautiful, unbroken silence. Sometimes, when my workload was light and I needed to escape everyday life, I come out here with a book and a chair, and sat on the hull reading, using the helmet speakers to play soft jazz. One time, I even brought a Portable Environs-Dome out so I could drink a glass of wine and sit in my smoking jacket.

 

A wire sparked out at me. More work to do. Absolutely fantastic. I smiled. I withdrew my arm, and read the display on the caliper. The mechanism was aligned correctly. I placed it back on my belt, and drew a length of wire out of a pouch next to it. I unplugged the faulty one, and inserted the new one in its place. I marked the bad wire with a small cutting laser, and placed it in the pouch. I mentioned that the wiring up here was starting to decay at the last department meeting. It seems no one bothered to come out and try and fix it. Typical. If you want something done, do it yourself.

 

I honestly think I could get by with a much smaller department. I could take on quite a few of the responsibilities myself; I don't mind working, especially if it means I get to get away from the rest of the crew like this. In fact, I'd probably take on most of the spacewalks. They're just that much nicer than most other jobs I had on this ship. If I were anywhere else on the ship, I'd get approached with a proposal for making the engines slightly more efficient, or maybe a detailed breakdown of the energy savings of shutting the artificial gravity off for ten minutes every night. Don't get me wrong, I love those things. In fact, I was working on both of those. I'm just not that fond of people, I guess.

 

I detached the antenna calibrator from my toolbelt, and held it to the sensor grid on the side of the array unit. The usual blue field emitted from the end, collecting data from the placement of each antenna. Honestly, my life would be so much better if I didn't have as many people to talk to. I'd get things done sooner that way. People just get in between me and my work. It's mostly a case of miscommunication, though. They don't interpret my orders correctly.

 

Or is it that I don't phrase them in a way that they can understand?

 

Actually, that makes quite a lot of sense. I've always had a problem relaying things to people. It always seems that whatever I say is different from what I'm thinking. How come the psyche exams required for entry into the Engineer Corps didn't catch something as major as that? If my assumptions are correct, that means I really, really shouldn't be in such a major position. The ship could be at stake. The calibrator beeped to signal that it was ready to fully calibrate the sensor grid. Five antennas were out of alignment. We must have taken a hard knock somewhere along the line. I pressed down on the trigger.

 

The bright white beam shot out of the end, colliding with the antennas in such a way that they were pushed into their correct positions. It didn’t take long. I slowly replaced the cover on the unit. The job was done. Now to get back into the ship, and back to the daily harassment. I turned round to see hell staring me in the face.

 

An asteroid was on a collision course with the ship.

 

Now, normally, this wouldn’t be noticable. The ship would normally be moving, the sensor array would be online and most of the crew would be awake. But then, in the dead of night and during routine maintenance, was not exactly the best condition for a space rock coming to smash through the ship. I tapped the side of my helmet, sweat pooling at the bottom.

 

“Engineering, this is Lieutenant Dell. Engage the engines and quickboot the sensor array. Now. We have a Whiskey Tango Foxtrot off the port bow, coming down at a high enough speed to easily rip apart the entire rear half of the ship.” I barked.

“Sir, engaging the engines would cause you to fall off the ship.” I really didn’t need someone telling me that.

“Just do it. I’ll find a way to stay on board.” My eyes darted along the hull, searching for something to suitably brace myself against. It takes twelve seconds for the engines to cold start, and another five to build up the force needed to throw me off the hull. Plenty of time. The asteroid seemed to slow down as I worked it out in my head. Seventeen seconds to prepare.

 

There wasn’t much. I could have tried gripping to the sensor array unit, but that was less than a third my height. Not much purchase there. The hull was relatively blemish free. I cursed the ship designers under my breath. My thoughts turned to the cooling system in my suit.

 

Let me explain to you how it works. It uses a couple of vacuum-sealed canisters of cold air - about minus twenty degrees Celsius - in its setup. Normally, it distributes into the suit itself when it gets far too hot inside, then ejects some air into space. However, it can be rigged - this part is crucial - to expel all of the air at once, propelling the person wearing the suit into space. I reached around and flicked the switch on my backpack. I was going to jump to the asteroid.

 

Fifteen seconds. I demagnetised my boots, and crouched down by the sensor array unit, so that I could push off properly. Air started hissing, then exploding out of my back. I pushed off with my feet and flew through the dead of space to the asteroid. We met halfway. Nine seconds. I tapped my helmet again.

“Goddamnit, hurry up!” I yelled.

“Sir, where are you? The sensors don’t register you as being on the ship.” The worry seemed to ooze through the speaker along with the voice.

“I’m on the asteroid. Only place I could find where I wouldn’t get lost in space.”

“What are you doing over there?” I watched as the ship started shooting off away from me. I gripped the rock around me.

“Well, think about it. What’s easier to track, a forty-kilometre wide rock or a six feet tall human being? I decided to go with the rock option.”

 

Five seconds. The ship was barely out of the way. I should really get back to work on my ion engine improvements. They accelerate too damn slowly, we’re lucky to get to sixty miles an hour in a second. I dove into a crater as the asteroid passed the engines, shielding my eyes. Even with my hand in the away and my visor darkening, I could still see the brilliant blue glow. I stood back up.

 

How the hell was I going to get back? I exhausted my air coolant supply, and all I had were calibration tools on my belt. I reached up to my helmet, but before I pressed the comm panel it started chirping.

“The ship’s clear, sir. How will you be returning?”

Edited by HummingbirdJames

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It's rather short, though for a first chapter I suppose that's okay as a teaser. I think if I had to criticize anything, it's that I don't know what the two mentioned characters look like yet (aside from the glasses), unless that was done on purpose for a buildup in the next chapter.

 

I don't know what direction it's going to go from it yet though. Do you have a synopsis for the plot and the title of your story?

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